BY M.K. "MARIA" RACINE, PHOENIX, AZ - I believe that things come full circle; now that the Sundance rough cut deadlines have passed, I am posting a blog entry that I had intended to make at the very beginning of this Zambian experience. My fiancé, Stefan, is the primary reason I became a member of the Film Zambia crew and I cannot end this Film Zambia experience without thanking him, without letting everyone know why, how, when this all took place for me. I'd like to go back to the beginning, to express the thoughts that have been with me all this time, as I begin to close out my experience in Zambia. This photo is the last one on my memory card, from our trip to Africa. Stefan took it as we left Sky Harbor, the night we returned from Zambia, the night he took me back home...
Look at the stars
see how they shine for you
and all the things you do
and they were all yellow...
At times, during the night, we would be traveling on the bus to somewhere in Zambia. I would look out the window and up at the stars. A pleasant thought would come to mind, that Stefan would be looking up at the same starlit sky. (Though 9 hours later.) It always gave me comfort, as I would recall the lyrics to the song Yellow each time. Yellow, our song, and also Stefan's favorite color. I felt these stolen moments were my way of communicating with him and though these moments were brief, they meant a great deal to me. Unfortunately, I overheard Cyndi, one night, remind crew members that we were in a different hemisphere, hence under a different starlit sky than our loved ones back home.
Regardless, I continued to feel my connection with Stefan as I looked to the brilliance above, during those dark rides through Zambia.
If it weren't for Stefan, I would not have made it to Zambia. He and I were in Germany for five weeks in the early part of the summer, a time period that paralleled the original filming schedule. Once we had returned, the film budget was no longer able to support airfare for crew members. Those that still wanted to go needed to consider self-funding their trip.
One evening, while Stefan and I were having dinner, he looked at me and said, "if money is the only reason you do not go to Zambia, then it is the wrong reason."
Stefan funded my experience in Zambia. Though he did not have the money to spare, though it would take me miles from our life in Phoenix, he could see what the trip would give me in return...he saw the opportunity that I could not. He looked beyond the pragmatic and saw the adventure, the fulfillment, the life changing experience I was so primed for, one that awaited me in Zambia.
Right before I left for Africa, I sent out an e-mail to family and friends, thanking Stefan for loving me so much as to make this experience a reality for me. I had intended to blog such a sentiment, upon arriving in Zambia, however, by the time Internet access was available to us, we had Film Zambia experiences that needed to blogged. I never posted my public thank you…until now.
Stefan, you have given me more than I could have ever asked for, now and over the past several years. You continue to support and love me unconditionally, without limitation, without reservation. Thank you for your sacrifices, your selflessness and for your love. Thank you for knowing what's best for me and letting me go, without letting go. I appreciate you more than I can convey, and love you more than you could ever feel.
Stefan, look at the stars
know that they shine for you
one for each selfless thing you do
and yes, they are all yellow.